Detection of elevated lead levels at Bungendore

Transport for NSW has identified elevated lead levels in the soil along the rail corridor at Bungendore.

We have found elevated levels of lead in soil in areas next to and within the rail tracks and some areas of rail corridor where trains were previously required to slow down, stop, or load and unload, and in areas where materials were loaded and unloaded.

While the rail line at Bungendore is currently used to carry passengers between Sydney and Canberra, it was previously used to transport lead ore from the mine at Captains Flat to Bungendore in small, uncovered wagons. At Bungendore, the lead ore was transferred into larger wagons and then transported via rail to Port Kembla.

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APR 2022

APR 2022Elevated levels of lead

Additional soil testing was carried out along the rail corridor between Bungendore and Captains Flat in November 2021. The testing determined that there are some elevated levels of lead in the following locations:

  • the unofficial car park for the Bungendore Public School on the corner of Majara Street and Kings Highway. This area will remain fenced until it can be remediated.
  • the woolshed which is used by the Lake George Men’s Shed. We are consulting with the Men’s Shed to make the site safe and establish a new access.
  • next to three private properties adjacent to the corridor. Transport is consulting with the property owners.
  • in an isolated area near the bus stop on Gibraltar Street. Transport has advised Council who has now erected a fence around the area.

We are finalising the Preliminary Site Investigation stage of the project. The reports for this stage of the project are available in the reports section.

NOV 2021

NOV 2021Additional soil testing

Contractors will be onsite at Bungendore to carry out hand-held x-ray fluorescence soil testing. For this type of testing, the contractors will not need to dig any bore holes and there will be no noise associated with this work.

This further testing will be carried out between Monday 15 and Friday 19 November 2021. The testing will help determine if there has been dust migration from the soil along the rail corridor and what needs to happen next.

You will notice the contractors on site carrying out their work.

The contractors have an important job to do, and we ask the community to leave them undisturbed as they perform their tasks. They will have orange cones set up around designated areas as they move around the testing sites. Please give them space so they can quickly and careful undertake the required testing. We will be updating the community as soon as we have the results of this further testing.

OCT 2021

OCT 2021Sample testing

An occupational hygienist gathers samples from the air and dust for testing to determine if there are any potentially harmful materials present.

From Monday 18 October 2021, occupational hygienists will be onsite in Bungendore to carry out further testing along the rail corridor. The occupational hygienists will be wearing personal protective equipment to ensure their safety. It is important to note it is standard protocol for occupational hygienists to wear a high level of personal protective equipment to carry out testing at any site they visit. It is not an indication of the potential level of risk at Bungendore. Wearing personal protective equipment to carry out testing is part of the occupation health and safety requirements to minimise any personal risk to the workers.

We will be updating the community as soon as we have the results of this further testing.

Community information sessions

While we don’t have all the answers yet as we’re still learning about the elevated lead levels, we want to share all the information we have with you and let you know what will be happening next. Online information sessions are a great opportunity for the community to understand what we know and ask questions of Transport for NSW, NSW Health and the EPA.

The first community information session was held on Thursday 7 October 2021. Download the presentation from the community information session.

The next community information session was held online on Wednesday 15 December 2021. Download the presentation from this session.

What is happening

We are finalising the Preliminary Site Investigation stage of the project. The reports for this stage of the project are available in the reports section.

Transport reported the soil contamination to the EPA on 29 September 2021, in line with its obligations under the Contaminated Lands Management Act.

Transport will continue to work closely with the EPA as it works through the steps to remediate the site.

We will continue consultation with Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council, Lake George Men’s Shed, Rotary Club and potentially impacted residents to resolve localised matters.​

Upon completion of the Preliminary Site Investigation stage of the project, Transport will commence the Detailed Site Investigation. This will be followed by the development of a plan to manage the contamination.

We have erected a temporary fence to prevent access to parts of the rail corridor while we undertake further investigations. This will impact parents’ ability to park at the unofficial car park on the corner of Majara Street and Kings Highway and prevent access to the Lake George Men’s Shed. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Frequently asked questions

  • We’ve identified elevated lead levels in the soil along the rail line in Bungendore where we have carried out sampling. The elevated levels vary at different locations along the rail corridor.
  • The soil samples showed lead levels varied at different locations in the rail corridor. We found elevated levels of lead in the areas immediately adjacent to or within the rail tracks, and some areas of rail corridor where trains were previously required to slow down, stop, or load and unload. The level of lead found in the soil samples generally decreases the further they were taken from the rail track and former loading and unloading areas.
  • Transport for NSW is committed to ensuring the health and wellbeing of the community.

    We have notified the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and are working with the relevant government agencies to ensure we fully address any impacts on the community.

    We have installed a temporary fence around the known areas of concern to prevent people from accessing the site while we undertake further investigations. This will impact the informal carpark area on the corner of Majara Street and Kings Highway and Lake George Men’s Shed. We will work with the Lake George Men’s Shed to enable them to continue their valuable work in the community at a suitable and safe site. We apologise for any inconvenience.

    Further advice can be provided by contacting Transport for NSW on 1800 491 566 or via email at Bungendore.info@transport.nsw.gov.au.

  • Water collected in rainwater tanks varies in quality and is impacted by the management and maintenance of the associated roof catchments, which could collect dust and debris. Tank water quality can also be affected by lead-based paint used on roof surfaces and lead flashings, lead–based solder in tanks and plumbing pipes, water laying for extended periods in copper pipes, and other plumbing fixtures containing lead and copper.

    Water from your tank should not be used for any potable purpose including drinking, brushing your teeth, food preparation, irrigation of edible fruit or vegetables or for poultry or other animals. Water in your tank can still safely be used to irrigate non–edible gardens and lawns and hose down hard surfaces including pathways and driveways.

    The Bungendore Town Water Supply remains the most reliable source of good quality drinking water because it is treated and regularly monitored for compliance with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

    Further advice on rainwater tank water quality and tank maintenance is available from NSW Health’s website. Alternatively, you can contact the Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 and ask to speak with an Environmental Health Officer.

  • Lead dust investigations were undertaken in late 2021. The investigations concluded that lead is not migrating offsite from dust. The report will be released in April 2022.

  • We tested for lead in the soil, taking samples from 119 sites along the rail line between Turallo Creek Bridge and the Ellendon Street level rail crossing and near the Bungendore train station. These samples were taken from different locations to help us understand the levels of lead across the rail corridor in more detail.
  • The results from the soil sampling along the rail corridor showed:

    • Lead levels in the soil varied from above to below acceptable levels for industrial uses across the testing area.

    Elevated levels of lead were found in:

    • areas next to and within the rail tracks
    • some areas of the rail corridor where trains were previously required to slow down, stop, or load and unload.
    • lead level concentrations decreased the further they were taken from the rail tracks.
  • We are continuing to investigate.

    TfNSW is finalising the Preliminary Site Investigation phase of the project. The reports are being finalised and will be published on the project website at nswroads.work/bungendore in April 2022.

    We are mindful that full investigations, remediation planning and completion of remediation work will take some time, however we will keep the community informed on our progress. All potential risks are being formally assessed now and the full report will be published on the website in April 2022.

    We will keep the community informed of the results from the testing and if further testing is required.

    We have notified the EPA and are working with the relevant government agencies to ensure we fully address any impacts on the community.

  • We have notified the EPA that we’ve found elevated lead levels along the rail corridor at Bungendore. They are assessing the information we’ve provided and will assess the results of the further investigation to determine whether the lead is significant enough to warrant regulation by the EPA.
  • We’ve undertaken testing along the rail corridor between Turallo Creek Bridge and the Ellendon Street level rail crossing, at the Bungendore train station, the woolshed (former rail yards), the southern fork, trucking yard lane and the signalman’s cottage. We took samples from 119 sites along the rail tracks, next to the rail tracks and on the edge of the rail corridor.
  • Transport for NSW has established that ore from the Captains Flat Mine was transported to Bungendore and re-loaded into larger wagons in the late 1800s and between 1937 and 1962. Following consultation with the Captains Flat Inter-agency Taskforce and a request by Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council, Transport started testing for lead in the rail corridor at Bungendore.
  • Our initial testing did not include testing the water. All potential risks are being formally assessed now for consultation with stakeholders and additional testing programs are in development.
  • Plants do not readily absorb lead, but the amount they do absorb depends on the species and the variety of plant, the chemical composition of the soil, the amount of lead in the soil and the soil temperature. Leafy vegetables and herbs tend to accumulate more lead compared to fruiting vegetables.

    Water from your rainwater tank should not be used for any potable purpose, including irrigation of edible fruit or vegetables, unless you know it is compliant with the Australian Drinking Water Guideline Values.

    Fruit and vegetables should be grown in raised garden beds, using clean imported soil and washed prior to cooking and consuming.

  • Transport for NSW is committed to ensuring the health and wellbeing of the community. We have notified the EPA and are working with the relevant government agencies to ensure we fully address any impacts on the community.

    We have erected a temporary fence to prevent access to parts of the rail corridor while we undertake further investigations. This will impact parents’ ability to park at the unofficial car park on the corner of Majara Street and Kings Highway and prevent access to the Lake George Men’s Shed. We apologise for any inconvenience.

  • Yes. All final reports will be published on the project website at nswroads.work/bungendore.
  • Yes. Depending on the outcome of the occupational hygiene testing we may undertake further testing. We will keep the community informed of the results and if further testing is required.
  • The likelihood that a person has been exposed is dependent on several factors including the level of lead in the immediate environment and activities that could increase exposure, the length of exposure and the person’s age and general health. If you are concerned about possible exposure to high levels of lead, please see your local GP to request a blood test.
  • In general, poultry foraging in soils containing elevated levels may swallow enough lead to cause their eggs to become potentially unsuitable for consumption. To prevent this from occurring:

Further information

For more information about lead exposure, please see advice from NSW Health.

For more information about managing lead in the environment see the EPA fact sheet.

If you couldn’t attend the community information session and have questions that are not covered in the FAQs, please contact the project team:

Phone: 1800 491 566
Email: bungendore.info@transport.nsw.gov.au

Project documents

Project notifications

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File Title Size
April 2022 community notification

Elevated lead levels in soil at Bungendore.

350Kb
November 2021 community notification

Soil testing between Bungendore and Captains Flat from Monday 22 November.

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November 2021 community notification

Further testing at Bungendore from Monday 15 November.

211Kb
September 2021 community notification

Detection of soil contamination at Bungendore.

349Kb

Reports

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May 2022 Bungendore Station Preliminary Site Investigation

Bungendore Station preliminary site investigation report

24.1Mb
March 2022 Bungendore Rail Corridor Preliminary Site Investigation

Detection of elevated lead levels at Bungendore.

25.3Mb

 

Contact us

Phone number: 1800 491 566

Email: bungendore.info@transport.nsw.gov.au

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